A Multimethod Analysis of Pragmatic Skills in Children and Adolescents With Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Down Syndrome Purpose Pragmatic language skills are often impaired above and beyond general language delays in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. This study used a multimethod approach to language sample analysis to characterize syndrome- and sex-specific profiles across different neurodevelopmental disabilities and to examine the congruency of 2 analysis techniques. Method ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   November 09, 2018
A Multimethod Analysis of Pragmatic Skills in Children and Adolescents With Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gary E. Martin
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Staten Island, NY
  • Lauren Bush
    Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Jessica Klusek
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • Shivani Patel
    Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Molly Losh
    Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Gary E. Martin: marting@stjohns.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard
    Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   November 09, 2018
A Multimethod Analysis of Pragmatic Skills in Children and Adolescents With Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-18-0008
History: Received January 8, 2018 , Revised May 26, 2018 , Accepted July 16, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-18-0008
History: Received January 8, 2018; Revised May 26, 2018; Accepted July 16, 2018

Purpose Pragmatic language skills are often impaired above and beyond general language delays in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. This study used a multimethod approach to language sample analysis to characterize syndrome- and sex-specific profiles across different neurodevelopmental disabilities and to examine the congruency of 2 analysis techniques.

Method Pragmatic skills of young males and females with fragile X syndrome with autism spectrum disorder (FXS-ASD, n = 61) and without autism spectrum disorder (FXS-O, n = 40), Down syndrome (DS, n = 42), and typical development (TD, n = 37) and males with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder only (ASD-O, n = 29) were compared using variables obtained from a detailed hand-coding system contrasted with similar variables obtained automatically from the language analysis program Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT).

Results Noncontingent language and perseveration were characteristic of the pragmatic profiles of boys and girls with FXS-ASD and boys with ASD-O. Boys with ASD-O also initiated turns less often and were more nonresponsive than other groups, and girls with FXS-ASD were more nonresponsive than their male counterparts. Hand-coding and SALT methods were largely convergent with some exceptions.

Conclusion Results suggest both similarities and differences in the pragmatic profiles observed across different neurodevelopmental disabilities, including idiopathic and FXS-associated cases of ASD, as well as an important sex difference in FXS-ASD. These findings and congruency between the 2 language sample analysis techniques together have important implications for assessment and intervention efforts.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD38819 and R01HD044935 to Joanne Roberts), the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R01DC010191 to Molly Losh), the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH091131 to Molly Losh), and the National Fragile X Foundation (to Joanne Roberts). We greatly appreciate Jan Misenheimer for her assistance with the data analysis, Christine Kahlke and Emma Kolsky for pragmatic coding efforts, and all data collectors. We also acknowledge the Research Participant Registry Core of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, Grant P30 HD03110, as well as the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Finally, we recognize the late Joanne Roberts, who was awarded the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Fragile X Foundation grants that supported the early phases of this research, and the children and families who participated.
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